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Area: Metaphysics

| Baier | Brown | Dyke | Haslanger | Judge | Proudfoot | Teichman | Thomasson |

Baier, A. C.

Baier,# A. C. (1981). Cartesian Persons.  Philosophia: Philosophical Quarterly of Israe 10 (3-4): 169- 188

Kw: consciousness; person

The dualism which strawson attributes to descartes is only half of descartes' total view, since he has a different account of how we should conceive of ourselves when what we are doing is seeking the good, rather than searching for metaphysical truth. Behind the metaphysical dualism lies the methodological dualism of theory and practice, thought and action. Descartes' and strawson's accounts of persons and of consciousness are compared, and second person psychological claims are found to be as important as first and third person claims.

Brown, D.

Brown,# D. (1999) What Was New in the Passions of 1649?. Acta Philosophica Fennica 64: 211- 231

Kw: Judgement; Descartes; passion; representation

Abstract not available


Dyke,# H. (2008). Temporal Language and Temporal Reality. Philosophical Quarterly 53 (212): 380–391.

Kw: Time

It has recently been argued that the new B-theory of time argues invalidly from the claim that tensed sentences have tenseless truth-conditions to the conclusion that temporal reality is tenseless. But while early B-theorists may have relied on some such inference, new B-theorists do not. Giving tenseless truth-conditions for tensed sentences is not intended to prove that temporal reality is tenseless. Rather it is intended to undermine the A-theorist's move from claims about the irreducibility of tensed language to the conclusion that temporal reality must be tensed. I examine how A-theorists have used facts about language in attempting to establish their conclusions about the nature of temporal reality. I take the recent work of William Lane Craig, and argue that he moves illicitly from facts about temporal language to his conclusion that temporal reality is tensed.

Dyke,# H. (2002). Tokens, Dates and Tenseless Truth Conditions. Synthese 131 (3): 329- 351.

Kw: Truth; meaning; time; reality

There are two extant versions of the new tenseless theory of time: the date version and the token-reflexive version. I ask whether they are equivalent, and if not, which of them is to be preferred. I argue that they are not equivalent, that the date version is unsatisfactory, and that the token-reflexive version is correct. I defend the token-reflexive version against a string of objections from Quentin Smith. My defence involves a discussion of the ontological and semantic significance of truth conditions, and of the connection between truth and reality on the one hand, and that between truth and meaning on the other. I argue that Smith''s objections to the token-reflexive theory stem from his confusing these two aspects of the notion of truth.

Dyke,# H. (2001). The Pervasive Paradox of Time. Grazer Philosophische Studien 62 (1):103-124.

Kw: Time; reality; notion of tense; Mc Taggart’s paradox; a-theory; b-theory

The debate about the reality of tense descends from an argument of McTaggart's,whichwas designed to prove the unreality of time.The argument has two constituent theses: firstly that time is intrinsically tensed, and secondly, that the notion of tense is inherently self-contradictory. If both of these theses are true, it follows that time does not exist. The debate that has emerged from this argument centres around the truth or falsity of each of these theses. A-theorists accept the first and reject the second thesis, drawing the conclusion that, since there is no contradiction in the notion of tense, time exists and is intrinsically tensed. B-theorists accept the second and reject the first thesis, concluding that the notion of tense is inherently self-contradictory, but since time is not intrinsically tensed, time exists and is tenseless. I think the argument against tense is sound, but time is not intrinsically tensed, so time exists and is tenseless. However, this argument, which has come to be known as McTaggart's paradox, is obscure, which has tended to blunt its force. In this paper I recast McTaggart's paradox in my own terms. The notion of tense has two components: an observer-independent distinction between past, present and future, and a flow of time. Totake tense seriously is to suppose that these two features of tense are also features of time. I argue that they are inherently incompatible with each other, generating a contradiction at the heart of the notion of tense, thus proving that tense is unreal. The contradiction arises no matter how one construes the notion of tense, and I illustrate this by revealing essentially the same contradiction in a number of different accounts of tensed time.

Dyke,# H., Proudfoot,# D. & Copeland, J. (2001) Temporal Parts and Their Individuation. Analysis 61 (4):289–293.

Kw: Three- and Four- Dimensionalism

Analyzes the concept of four-dimensionalism which holds that a physical object exhibiting identity across time is a four-dimensional whole composed of briefer four-dimensional objects or temporal parts. Arguments presented by philosopher Peter van Inwagen to refute the theory of four-dimensionalism; Weaknesses of Inwagen's arguments.

Haslanger, S.

Haslanger,# S. (2006). What Good are our Intuitions? Philosophical Analysis and Social Kinds. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 80 (1):89–118.

Kw: Natural and social categories

In debates over the existence and nature of social kinds such as `race' and `gender', philosophers often rely heavily on our intuitions about the nature of the kind. Following this strategy, philosophers often reject social constructionist analyses, suggesting that they change rather than capture the meaning of the kind terms. However, given that social constructionists are often trying to debunk our ordinary (and ideology-ridden?) understandings of social kinds, it is not surprising that their analyses are counterintuitive. This article argues that externalist insights from the critique of the analytic/synthetic distinction can be extended to justify social constructionist analyses.

Judge, B.

Judge,# B. (1983).  Thoughts--and Their Contents. American Philosophical Quarterly 20: 365-374

Kw: Intentionality; Descartes; mental objects; phenomenology

The first part of this article deals with descartes' ambivalent treatment of ideas--sometimes as mental acts, sometimes as mediating objects in the mind. The problem arises, it is suggested, because of a running together of what are two distinct strands in aquinas' account of mind. In the second part, descartes' account is examined from the standpoint of a modern concept of intentionality--leading to some general conclusions about the nature of thoughts.


Dyke,# H., Proudfoot,# D. & Copeland, J. (2001) Temporal Parts and Their Individuation. (2001). Analysis 61 (4):289–293.

See Dyke (above)

Teichman, J.

Teichman,# J. (1983). Symposium: the Indeterminacy of the Mental, II. Aristotelian Society: Supplementary Volume (supp 57): 111- 130

Kw: Indeterminacy; mental

No abstract available

Teichman,# J. (1965). Incompatible Predicates.. Analysis 2L: 57- 58

Kw: Appearing; incompatibility; predicate

Abstract not available

Teichman,# J. (1961). Mental Cause and Effect. 1961. Mind: A Quarterly Review of Philosophy 70: 36- 52

Kw: Cause; mental; reasons

This is an examination of the relation of mental causation and behavioral effects. The author focuses on the role that consciousness plays in determining whether a given effect is to be assigned a mental cause. Consciousness is to be thought of as (1) the definitional criterion for a thing's being mental and therefore a "mental cause," (2) the false idea that consciousness is a kind of extra sense which certifies a given experience, and (3) a link in the causal chain.


Thomasson,# A. (2008). Existence Questions. Philosophical Studies 141 (1): 63- 78.

Kw: Ontological commitment

I argue that thinking of existence questions as deep questions to be resolved by a distinctively philosophical discipline of ontology is misguided. I begin by examining how to understand the truth-conditions of existence claims, by way of understanding the rules of use for ‘exists’ and for general noun terms. This yields a straightforward method for resolving existence questions by a combination of conceptual analysis and empirical enquiry. It also provides a blueprint for arguing against most common proposals for uniform substantive ‘criteria of existence’, whether they involve mind-independence, possession of causal powers, observability, etc., and thus for showing that many arguments for denying entities (numbers, ordinary objects, fictional characters, propositions…) on grounds of their failure to meet one or more of these proposed existence criteria are mistaken.